Observer: Alaska Case Could Spell Trouble for Contribution Limits


An obscure legal challenge in the Land of the Midnight Sun may join a recent line of U.S. Supreme Court cases that have shaken up the status quo in campaign finance law.

The case is Thompson v. Hebdon. David Thompson and District 18 of the Alaska Republican Party are challenging a section of the state constitution imposing a $500 cap on contributions to candidates, and a $5,000 cap on donations to political parties.


Reform-minded organizations such as the Campaign Legal Center are concerned about the precedent the Thompson’s case could set. The group says if the judges accept Thompson’s argument, it could be the beginning of the end for all contribution limits.

In a summary of the case, the Campaign Legal Center wrote: “Courts have long recognized that these laws are effective tools at preventing corruption and its appearance. If the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals adopts Thompson’s proposed rigorous standard of review, contribution limits across the country will be opened up to new scrutiny and decades of settled law will be called into question.”